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Nine Blazing Months!


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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Congratulations Victoria!
I look forward to your completed adventure even if it is months away. It looks like Stephen's was just released & so there is a lot of RPGSS going on even though the contest is over, and the logo is gone.

Here is the next little bit. A tradition for the truly dedicated or addicted or even obsessed. We have a little over nine months until RPGSS 2015 so lets make them hot!

Nine Blazing months begins! :)

The goal here is to create a superstar items with a little help from some friendly critique. One a month is not too hard to practice, but making deadlines, BBC/Paizo formatting, and accepting critique rewriting can be.

some suggestions:

1) Pick a day and post a new item every month by that day. Do that from now until December & you will have 9 solid items to lead your submission.
2) Do a rewrite a week after that. This requires comments so please critique others.
3) Focus on formatting. It is the one part I feel even marginally qualified to comment on, and then only because of the practice.* Practice formatting so you can focus on mojo with your submission.
4) Do not post an actual submission. That will DQ it from the contest. :)
5) Do not limit yourself to wondrous items. Create another magic item, an archetype, a monster, a villain or any of the other rounds we have seen in RPGSS. Just follow the rules for that round.
6) Do re-read all of SKR's guidelines, previous Top 32, critique my item threads. Space them out over nine months and it will be easier as well.

Two of our regulars have proven me wrong, but this practice is not a guarantee to get into the Top 32. It will help us develop a solid entry when the time comes & it will help us be better prepared for quick turnarounds. At least that is one idea, the other is simply to have fun. 'Cause 'tis that as well :)

*:
That's not entirely true since starting last years Blazing 9 thread I have been published twice, maybe I am better qualified than I admit :)

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Usually I recommend we start with a rewrite of the previous submission. This year I am going to suggests we create something Chelaxian for Wayfinder. There are two weeks to go until the deadline, so let's see what we can do for Tim & company.

Timitius wrote:
Curaigh wrote:
On magic items: With RPGSS just ending we will be starting the Blazing 9 item practice thread soon (Monday I think :). If we work up an item there (on the Paizo boards) can we submit it to Wayfinder, or should we go through email/PMs?
We've used stuff that was first shown on the boards....I have no problem with that, as long as YOU are the one that created it (no swiping someone else's work!), and it meets all our guidelines.

EDIT: Wayfinder call for submissions.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Good to see that the Blazing 9 got started! I actually just wrote a short blog post about it, so let's hope a lot of people come here to post items and review them. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

AlrightletsdothisLEEROOOOOYJEEEEEEEEENKINS!!!

Shackles of Toil
Aura:
moderate enchantment; CL: 7th
Slot: wrists; Price: 10,500 gp; Weight: 2 lbs.

Description:
Favored by worshippers of Droskar, these cast-iron manacles offer free range of motion but feel restrictive and burdensome. Once per day, the creature possessing the shackles’ key (referred to hereafter as the “master”) may designate a general type of labor, such as farming, mining, or smithing. If the manacled creature fails to perform that task for 24 hours, the shackles start to drain its stamina and resolve. The creature takes a –2 penalty on its Wisdom score and becomes fatigued; if already fatigued, it becomes exhausted. A successful DC 17 Will save resists this effect, but a new save must be made each day or another –2 Wisdom penalty accumulates and the fatigue worsens. No amount of rest can remove the fatigue.

If the manacled creature’s Wisdom is reduced to 0, the shackles compel it to take no actions other than returning to the master and resuming its assigned task. The ability score penalty and exhaustion are removed 24 hours after the manacled creature resumes its labor, though the master may choose to end the effect earlier.

Shackles of toil have hardness 10 and 10 hit points. A DC 30 Disable Device check is required to pick the shackles’ lock. A manacled creature can break free with a DC 28 Strength check or DC 35 Escape Artist check, but either of these actions results in the ability score penalty and fatigue taking effect immediately.

Construction Requirements:
Craft Wondrous Item, lesser geas, ray of exhaustion; Cost: 5,250 gp.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

Nick I'm going to offer a few of my thoughts. The internet and I have a notoriously bad relationship with tone so don't read anything I write here as too harsh. I mean it in the most positive / productive way possible. Hope it helps.

First Impressions

  • It has been noted in the past you'll probably see better results without the "Favored by..." lead just get to the description. People should be able to figure out if their villain, character, or famous group would want your item from what your item does.

  • I'd lose this piece of text:

    Quote:
    (referred to hereafter as the “master”)
  • and in a related vein I would simply refer to "the master" as the "key bearer". The Master and person in shackles may have different meanings than you intend to some players. So to avoid becoming a joke meme or offensive I'd keep it a little more generic.

  • RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

    The odd thing about Nine Blazing Months is you're not necessarily posting things you want to save those for publication/Superstar. So you may be fully aware that manacles tend not to go over super well in terms of the contest. I would recommend anyone thinking about using them for Superstar think of something else if they possibly can.

    That said, they're a decent enough item to use for other sources, such as Wayfinder, so let's take a look.

    I think Andrew's raised a valid point about the master/key bearer. That said, I'm less concerned about the "Favored by" if you're doing it for a specific campaign setting product, such as Wayfinder. I would absolutely avoid it, as he says, if I were doing something for the contest. If you want to work in Droskar, have the manacles stamped with his symbol. (I might also try to add a touch more flash to the description; that's where you get to show off your writing chops, so take advantage.)

    My other concern would be that it's 24 hours of work straight. Won't the person in the shackles soon become exhausted and work himself to death? Maybe that's what you intend, but I couldn't tell.

    Some formatting issues:
    Construction goes on its own line, with Requirements on the next line. Also, Paizo doesn't use colons and you don't need a period at the end. Otherwise, I think you've capitalized the proper terms.

    Paizo prefers "must succeed at a XXX check to break free" over "can break free with an Xxxx check," I believe (see John Compton's comments in many of the encounters).

    P.S. Congrats on being the first person to post a Nine Blazing Months item!

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

    Shackles of Toil

    I immediately think of Les Miserables for some reason when reading the name. "Look down, look down!"

    I'll throw in with the others on the "Favored by..." faux pas.

    I like cast-iron...and it is an interesting dichotomy between free motion but feeling restrictive.

    This requires a 2nd item (the key) to work properly...doesn't usually go over well with folk.

    Whoa...I think I know what you mean but, "fails to perform that task for 24 hours" could be taken as meaning the person wearing the manacles has to literally be doing the assigned task for 24 hours.

    Interesting effect, but this feels like a plot item already.

    What happens if they are unable to return to the master? Different planes, master's death, etc. Although again, this could be great as a plot item for some story hooks.

    Yay hardness and such!

    Overall, I like this item...on an NPC I encounter requiring a side quest to resolve. I mean...this also conjures imagery of Sisyphus rolling his rock up the hill so it is GREAT for a story. But as an item that PCs would want...not so much.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    Excellent! I will review as much as possible in this thread.

    For wondrous items, I will pretend that I've just seen the item pop up in the RPG Superstar voting queue, and write my thoughts from that perspective. I tend to vote very quickly. This means my critiques will be terse. However, my intention is to give you a genuine look into how I vote. Not everyone votes the way I do, or has the same (sometimes strong) opinions about certain item types or themes.

    Why should you listen to me? Well, maybe you shouldn't. I'm just one voter after all! But, out of five times submitting items to RPG Superstar, I've placed as an alternate or better three times. I've also voted a fair amount, so I've seen hundreds of item submissions.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    Shackles of Toil

    Cool enough name.

    "Favored by..." puts a bitter taste in my mouth right from the start. Paizo's items simply do not include this information. Your item shouldn't either. There's a reason that SKR tells people not to do this.

    A quick skim reveals that this is not an item for PCs. It also has some minor formatting issues (so many colons). These things make me less likely to vote for the item, even if it is otherwise balanced. This isn't a bad item, but it's not a very exciting item. It is something bad guys would use and PCs would (likely) destroy. Wondrous items don't always have to be rewards for the PCs, but if they aren't, they need to be really cool for me to vote for them.

    I could see this item in a themed book (Cheliax items perhaps? Wayfinder 11 perhaps?), but I'd be unlikely to vote for it in RPG Superstar. Unless it was up against something gross (cannibalism, eyeballs, etc.) or super boring (skill bonus item).

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

    Nick Wasko wrote:
    [b]Shackles of Toil

    I want to reiterate Andrew's statement about tone. I hope you see my critique in a constructive light, and hope it helps with your future items.

    First off, good name. And I don't just mean the item name (says one Nick to another).

    Jacob did a good job of pointing out the couple template mistakes so I will over look them here. He also pointed out the fact that shackles are not favored in the contest. I think the reason for this is due to the fact that the item must be forced onto an enemy for it to be used, and that is just not very heroic. There are other item types that this unwritten rule also applies to. My 2012 entry was a branding iron that might be used on a pinned opponent to brand their head. It kind of places the item as something a villain would use and therefore gives it a "plot-device" vibe. Avoid these types of items in your actual submission.

    And Andrew and Jacob mentioned the "Favored by" thing. That term has really got a ribbing. I think a better way to tie an item to a deity (and maybe some of the others can tell you what they think) is to put the deity in the name or describe it as having the deity's holy symbol on the item. You might think that this ties the item to tightly to the single deity. I personally don't have a problem with this as I'm likely to use my own pantheon anyway, but you could also say "the symbol of Droskar or another deity of slavery."

    The "favored by" is not the only problem with this first sentence. It just seems to be really contradictory. I see what you were going for, but I don't think it quite reads like you want it to. It just needs some work. Try: "These cast-Iron manacles appear heavy and burdensome, but incredibly, don't restrict motion in the least." Or: "These heavy, cast-Iron manacles change weight and lengthen to allow a manacled creature to work without restriction or burden." Or something like that. You might need a transmutation spell in the requirements for this.

    I agree with Jacob about the "master" thing. It is just a bit weird for a magic item and should be worked around. I think your intention is that the manacled creature does not have to work constantly for 24 hours, but begins taking Wisdom penalties if he does not work for a constant 24 hours. This is sort of like Geas, where "If the subject is prevented from obeying the geas/quest for 24 hours," is the stipulation. You might instead require that the manacled creature work for at least 8 hours (10?, 12?) out of every 24 hours and this will also help to avoid the confusion that "perform the task for 24 hours" has had.

    Your saving throw DC should be 16, not 17. Lesser Geas is a 4th level spell requiring a 14 (+2) ability score to cast (10 + 4 +2). Maybe you used the caster level of 7 to get a 17? If so, that is not right.

    I'm not sure why you chose the penalty to Wisdom. Obviously you don't want to hamper a slave's physical ability scores so they can work, but making them fatigued and exhausted does this anyway. Maybe you wanted to make the daily Will save harder to resist each day? I don't know, maybe the fatigue that cannot be removed through rest is enough? Or maybe a -2 to a physical ability score instead of fatigue?

    I think you should have stopped the Wisdom penalties a 1 Wisdom as "A character with a Wisdom score of 0 is incapable of rational thought and is unconscious." An unconscious character can't return to the key owner.

    The last paragraph has me a little confused. It is all well and good until the last comma. So if I try to break or escape these manacles I take a -2 Wisdom penalty and have fatigue that can't be slept off? But I can try to pick the manacles over and over without this penalty? And as it reads I get these effects even if I succeed in removing the manacles. How then to I recover from these effects now that I'm free? There is no time limit, the Wisdom penalty is not ability damage that will repair naturally, and the fatigue cannot be removed with rest. I think this needs work.

    The requirements are ok, except Ray of Exhaustion is a necromancy spell which should make the aura "enchantment and necromancy". As I pointed out above, you might want a transmutation effect in here too depending on how you tackle the description. Maybe you could find something to replace Ray of Exhaustion (and maybe the exhaustion effect) to kill two birds with one stone.

    Overall, it is not a terrible item and I could see these things existing in a magical world where slavery is a fact of life. If I were to see this in the contest, it would be neither an automatic up vote, nor a down vote and I would likely see this somewhere in the middle. It is definitely above the cull, but I would be surprised to see such an item in the top 100. Anyway, good start and I'm excited to see what else you have. We are glad you are here and hope you stick around for the 9 months.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Was debating whether or not to post something up, but figured I might as well give it a shot. So I present for critique..

    Devil Bone Rosary
    Aura: moderate abjuration and evocation; CL: 9th
    Slot: none; Price: 40,650 gp; Weight: 1 lb.

    Description:
    This string of pale yellow beads, evenly interspersed with nine devil's finger bones, whispers a litany dedicated to the nine lords of Hell in Infernal to anyone who holds it.

    When a divine spell-caster uses the devil bone rosary during their daily preparation of spells (or meditates over the rosary for one hour in the case of spontaneous divine spell-casters), the user gains the following effects for twenty-four hours:
    • +2 enhancement bonus to caster level checks made to overcome the spell resistance of chaotic creatures.
    • The user gains protection from chaos as a spell-like ability, useable for up to nine minutes in one minute increments. These minutes do not need to be used consecutively but any minutes remaining at the end of the twenty-four hours are wasted.
    • Additionally, if the user is a worshiper of Asmodeus, they may invoke the deity’s name once per day as a swift action, causing the next spell cast by the user before the start of their next turn to not expend the prepared spell or spell slot. This ability can affect only spells of 3rd level or lower, and can be used a total of nine times as each finger bone blackens and crumbles away.

    The devil bone rosary can bestow these effects to only one person every twenty-four hours, and must be carried by the user to confer the above effects.

    If the user is chaotic in alignment, they immediately gain two permanent negative levels for twenty-four hours that cannot be overcome in any way (such as by restoration).

    Construction Requirements:
    Craft Wondrous Item, dispel chaos, imbue with spell ability, protection from chaos, creator must worship Asmodeus; Cost: 20,325 gp

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    Devil Bone Rosary

    Decent description and name. I notice the use of colons in the template. This immediately tells me the writer did not use Paizo's wondrous item template and makes me wary.

    I see other little style errors (a dash in spellcaster, no dash in "one-minute intervals") which tell me that the writer needs a bit more practice. That said, there are some good design chops evident in the various considerations of the item's use (not working for multiple people at the same time, giving negative levels to chaotic creatures). The item also has a tie to the setting without providing excessive background information, so that's neat.

    Looking more closely... what I really wish is that the actual effects of the item were more interesting, because I like the item overall. It's kind of sinister (devil bones!) and provides an array of themed abilities without overdoing it and becoming a Swiss Army Knife. But the effects just aren't that exciting. We get a bonus to a roll, a spell-like ability that the user can probably cast already, and a pseudo-pearl of power ability. I think this item would be better if it only had one really cool ability instead of three mediocre ones. On the other hand, I like that it confers a constant benefit and then also has a consumable aspect built in. (Side note: you probably need to say whether the item's other benefits still work after all nine bones have been used up.)

    I would be likely to vote for this item in some cases. But, if it came up against an item with a more exciting ability, I would not vote for it. A flawless template would help when this item came up against other items that were more exciting but poorly executed, but this item has some errors.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

    Mawgrim, I think it's great that you're participating. Only way to get better (and keeps Superstar going year round).

    Love the name. I'm immediately excited to read the item. I do wonder if some people might object to the term rosary being too linked to a real-world relationship and want a generic, but I think it's really evocative myself.

    Love the description. Great use of imagery and multiple senses.

    As for the item itself, I think it feels like more of a Big Book o' Magic Items entry than Superstar.

    I think the biggest problem is listing three separate powers makes it feel like a Swiss Army Knife item. It can do this and this and this. You've got a good, strong, consistent theme running through them, but when I see bullet points, I immediately get a sour reaction. Again, that's not necessarily bad for a general item, but it's probably going to get down-voted for Superstar purposes.

    Next, you start with I think the least interesting power of the trio: The +2 to caster checks (and good job noting the bonus type) starts me off on the wrong foot. For Superstar, you almost never want to lead with the change to a numerical bonus, as it's just not that exciting.

    Power two is solid, but is a spell in a can. I might instead of saying the extra minutes are wasted say they're lost but that's really quibbling.

    Your third power is the most interesting, but even then it feels a bit like a pre-emptive Pearl of Power with a swift action. That's got some originality and I don't think I mind the change to action economy (which is an area to watch out for in game design). I'm not 100 percent sure whether this is something that can be used nine times per day or total, though I think you mean it to be the latter. I'd definitely lead with this power.

    You do have some of the same template issues as Nick had. You shouldn't have colons after all the bolded things, and Construction and Requirements don't go on the same line. Cost should also be bold.
    That said, you do a nice job italicizing and capitalizing (or, rather, leaving lower case) everything as it should be, so good job there; you're clearly aware of a lot of the style used by Paizo.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

    Mawgrim I'm going to offer a few of my thoughts. The internet and I have a notoriously bad relationship with tone so don't read anything I write here as too harsh. I mean it in the most positive / productive way possible. Hope it helps.

    First Impressions:
    Rosary has a pretty specific real world connotation and meaning and like I said to Nick about the word "Master" this is a word you may want to reconsider. Beyond potentially offending Catholic gamers (or giving more ammo to the RPGs are EVIL crowd) I'm not sure I associate Asmodeus with a "garland of roses."

    Your theme is pretty tight and you handle the specificity of who would want this well but it does a lot and without a lot of style. If this were in a book of magic items or an article for Wayfayer it would be a solid if not standout addition. If you were entering it in RPG Superstar I don't think it breaks enough new or interesting ground and I would only vote for this occasionally.

    Formatting Issue that jumps right out:

    Quote:
    Construction Requirements:

    Should read:

    Quote:

    Construction

    Requirements xxxx

    Mechanics concern: you don't need the rosary? to gain the benefits once you have performed the morning preparations? As it's written now a party with a couple divine casters could both benefit from rosary if they simply delay their start in the morning. I don't think this was the intent however. I'd require the bearer to have the item on their person to gain the benefits.

    Another thought. Since the 9 minute duration was selected as an obvious tie to the devil bones I would (personally) limit the protection from chaos SLA to one minute per bone rather than just 9 minutes.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

    Devil Bone Rosary

    Mike, Jacob, and Andrew all hit the salient points I came up with.

    The only thing I'll add is that the name would probably be better served if the Devil was possessive. As in Devil's Bone Rosary. That makes it more...I dunno exactly how to say it but gives it some panache. For me personally, the name is so very important.

    Other than that it is a very serviceable item. Just not quite Superstar level.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

    I disagree, headkase. With the possessive, it makes it a bone rosary that belongs to a devil. As is, it's a rosary made of devil bone.

    Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

    Wow That was fast y'all. In the words of ride attendants everywhere:
    Hang on, Hold tight, and Have fun!

    Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

    Nick Wasko wrote:

    AlrightletsdothisLEEROOOOOYJEEEEEEEEENKINS!!!

    Shackles of Toil

    What to add that hasn't already been addressed? The 24 hours of work threw me as well.

    *Like the name, toil and shackles are evocative words. X of Y throws a lot of people off, but I am not one of them especially since neither of your words is over used (ie doom, revenge, blood)
    **If the 'key-holder' does not make a new command ('once a day he may') is the manacled free to ignore the work. If so he has a chance to ignore it before it begins affecting him...
    ***word count could be refined by using some of craft or profession's language or even 'any craft or profession skill' (YMMV).

    Overall I like these, Droskar is a good tie, and you included stats for the shackles. It needs more flash to be superstar, but would get 50/50 upvotes. Also shackles work well with Cheliax, do these work on outsiders? :)

    I may now kick this thread off with NIIIIICKWASSSKOOOoooOOOooo!!!

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

    Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
    I disagree, headkase. With the possessive, it makes it a bone rosary that belongs to a devil. As is, it's a rosary made of devil bone.

    I'll have to agree to disagree :) The possessive would refer to the bone not the rosary, although I can see how it would be the Devil's bone-rosary

    It makes it imply some viciousness in creating the rosary from the devil's bone though.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Not necessarily a Cheliax-specific item, but let me know what you think!

    Dawncatcher's Glove
    Aura moderate evocation; CL 10th
    Slot hands; Price 21,600 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.
    Description
    This form-fitting glove has a metallic sheen despite its velvety texture; the back resembles polished onyx while the palm is like a highly reflective mirror. Once per day as a standard action, the wearer may present the glove's palm against the sun. The glove absorbs the surrounding sunlight, reducing illumination to dim light in a 60-foot radius centered on the wearer. This effect only functions in areas of natural sunlight. Creatures that are vulnerable to natural sunlight are protected from it within the area of dim light. The glove can absorb sunlight for a maximum of 100 consecutive minutes, during which time the wearer cannot use the gloved hand for anything other than absorbing light. Using the gloved hand for another purpose immediately ends the effect.

    Once this effect ends, the absorbed sunlight is stored within the glove. The glove cannot be used to absorb more sunlight while it already contains stored light. The stored light can be discharged with a standard action as either a daylight spell emanating from the glove, which lasts for an equal amount of time as the light absorbed, or as a focused beam, functioning as a searing light spell with an effective caster level of 1 per 10 minutes of light absorbed. Stored sunlight decays at a rate of 10 minutes per day; once the amount of stored light is reduced to 0 minutes, the glove can be used to absorb light again.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, daylight, deeper darkness, searing light; Cost 10,800 gp

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    Dawncatcher's Glove

    Great name and it fits the item.

    It is so nice when nothing immediately jumps out from an item to distract me, such as poor formatting, an awkward introductory sentence, backstory, or the like. I actually read this one straight through from beginning to end.

    This item does two things that I usually find kind of boring (absorb energy to do something with it; play around with light/darkness mechanics), but it does both of those things in an awesome way. The mechanics make sense, I like the two options for expending the energy and I like the way energy depletes over time.

    I want this item for my home games and I can't decide if I want to use it as a GM (as a reward for a player) or if I want it for one of my PCs!

    The one difficulty I kind of have is in figuring out exactly what sort of character might "dig" this item. The first mechanic seemed most useful for someone who wants to take advantage of dim light or protect themselves from the sun. A skulking character, or a vampire or something. But the second mechanic seems attractive for a paladin or cleric, someone who blasts undead with holy light and such. I think the item is intended for the latter.

    I predict that I would vote for this item more often than not.

    EDIT: Unfortunately, the actual effects from using the stored energy are just spells. Now that I think about it, that would cause me to vote against this item in favor of other items with more interesting effects. Still, this item would receive votes from me.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

    Christopher I'm going to offer a few of my thoughts. The internet and I have a notoriously bad relationship with tone so don't read anything I write here as too harsh. I mean it in the most positive / productive way possible. Hope it helps.

    My first concern is there is a lot going on in this thing and the first and second powers while linked by a sun theme make little sense to me together. A race that would benefit most from the first use would likely have little use for the other powers so I'm left to wonder at why it would be crafted this way?

    I might consider dropping the darkness power I'm not sure... but regardless I'd streamline the charging effect. For example: The dawncatcher's glove must charge in the sun for at least 30 minutes max 90 (or 120) which gives it 3 (or 4) charges. Each charge could then be used as 30 minutes of daylight or a caster level 3 searing light.

    My only other concern is that it is several spells in a can. The combination makes a more interesting can but I'm not sure if it would be enough in RPGSS.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

    Alright, to be clear because having reread my earlier posts I gthink that despite my disclaimer I'm still coming off as terse. All three of these items shows imagination and potential and I hope my tone hasn't been too off putting.

    Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7

    It begins again. I will hopefully be in this thread more than last year. I already have an idea for an entry but it's a secret. Shh....

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

    Andrew Marlowe wrote:

    Alright, to be clear because having reread my earlier posts I think that despite my disclaimer I'm still coming off as terse. All three of these items shows imagination and potential and I hope my tone hasn't been too off putting.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it, Andrew. Nobody is posting here with the expectation of being coddled; we want to run the gauntlet to prepare as best we can for 2015. We know your critiques are coming from a friendly and constructive place!

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    Mawgrim wrote:

    Was debating whether or not to post something up, but figured I might as well give it a shot. So I present for critique..

    Devil Bone Rosary

    Certainly you should give it a shot, this is friendly critique with the aim that we all get better. Welcome aboard!

    Nice work, another potential Chelaxian item :)
    I agree with Jacob (sorry theHeadkase) on the name. Andrew might be right on rosary, but it didn't bother me. The game uses 'prayer beads' in other cases FWIW. Heh: at first I was debating whether the colons were supposed to be bolded--they just didn't look right, but I totally missed that they should be omitted altogether. I guess even us 6-time entrants make these mistakes :)

    *a little SAK for me, I would like it better if each of the powers were tied to the previous power. Neil's Last Leaves (2009) & Jesse's snap-leaf (2008) did this to great effect. I am not saying it always works, but is one way to reduce SAK especially when the abilities are tied thematically (I think these are).
    **The penalty is not a penalty, a chaotic divine caster will probably not (never?) use these.
    ***round down (up?) the cost, 50 is just a strange number to end on & then you get into the 25 of creation cost. Also a 3rd level pearl of power costs 16,000 so this is worth three times that. Limitations might be enough to balance, but be wary.

    @ Andrew: the item specifically calls out that only one user per 24 hour period. @ Marlow: this is the sort of thing voters might easily miss & vote accordingly.

    Welcome and let's see it again. :)

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    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    Andrew Marlowe wrote:

    Alright, to be clear because having reread my earlier posts I think that despite my disclaimer I'm still coming off as terse. All three of these items shows imagination and potential and I hope my tone hasn't been too off putting.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it, Andrew. Nobody is posting here with the expectation of being coddled; we want to run the gauntlet to prepare as best we can for 2015. We know your critiques are coming from a friendly and constructive place!

    I agree. Everyone is here for the same reason and we know every critique, no matter how terse, is a chance to improve our work.

    That being said, I know I tend to be quite loquacious, so I'm going to take a page out of Mike's book and basically confine my comments to a stream of consciousness, as if each entry popped up on my RPGSS voting feed.

    Mawgrim wrote:
    Devil Bone Rosary

    Conflicted about the name. "Rosary" is far more evocative than "prayer beads," but potentially offensive as well.

    Price is a strange number, and that's a red flag for me. It makes me think you aren't quite sure how to manage that component of item design.

    A rosary that weighs 1 lb.? The existing prayer beads are only 1/2 lb. Those must be some heavy bones...

    Descriptive text is intriguing. Not sure if you need to specify the litany is "in Infernal" - it makes the sentence clunky and it seems obvious.

    Abilities have a strong thematic link, but individually they are boring. I feel like they should be more flavorful; make the spell recovery feature only work for spells with the evil descriptor, something like that.

    I see what you are trying to do with the negative levels, but I feel like this could be copied from the axiomatic weapon description and save a lot of headache.

    I'm really glad you posted this. It could use some cleaning up (just like my item), but you have a lot of promise and I'm excited to see more of your work.

    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    Dawncatcher's Glove

    *ASIDE* I wrote another item with an almost identical name. Being twins is awesome. Maybe I'll post my item here later so others can share in my mirth.

    Unsure why this is only one glove. What's on the other hand? Can I wear two and get twice the effect?

    The darkness effect is cool, I wasn't expecting that.

    The bonedancer bodhran got a lot of support for being useful to both PCs and villains. I feel like you tried to emulate that here, but didn't quite hit the mark. This requires a good character to use the darkness (potentially evil) effect to recharge the desired effect, and the villains seeking to free up the darkness effect will need to use daylight. In both cases the user has to use an unpleasant effect in order to make the desired effect available, and that seems cumbersome.

    The charged-up light powers are well-balanced and thematically correct, but they don't differ from the normal spells in any way, which is a bit disappointing. I also feel like a fully-charged glove should be able to shoot a single more powerful effect, like a maximized searing light or a sunbeam.

    Not quite as clean as the bonedancer bodhran, but definitely rocking the same mojo. Can't wait to see more of your posts!

    ------------------

    Thank you again to everyone who has critiqued (or is planning to critique) my item! I really appreciate all your observations, from my blatant rookie mistakes to formatting errors to subtleties of my language. I will hopefully finish the revisions this weekend, and have the reforged shackles of toil up by Tuesday.


    Hey guys, thank you all very much for posting critique on the rosary - I know that it is a very loaded name (being something that my mother would cross herself before cuffing me upside the head for associating devils with a rosary) and was one that as soon as I hit 'Submit Post' I thought that might draw honestly more fire than it has so far. I'm taking note of the common threads and critiques of the item, and will be looking at making the revisions by the end of the weekend :)

    Andrew Marlowe wrote:

    Alright, to be clear because having reread my earlier posts I gthink that despite my disclaimer I'm still coming off as terse. All three of these items shows imagination and potential and I hope my tone hasn't been too off putting.

    I didn't catch terse in the tone of your critique of the rosary - frank, blunt, and honest, but no terseness could be seen so you are all good there!

    I know it is probably clearly obvious that I'm new at actual game design (having been up to this point someone who runs others' material more often than my own), so I've come here not expecting to be coddled or have the kid gloves put on when I'm submitting items next to others' with vastly more experience than I - but that's also kind of the reason I'm here, so as to get honest feedback about my design and the areas I need to focus on shoring up (particularly the art and science of item pricing).

    I'll also try and get some critique on the shackles and the glove today in between work.

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    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    Dawncatcher's Glove

    I'm not going to repeat what others have said as I agree with most everything. One other thing I thought while reading it and just after I finished was that it seems to have a lot of words for what is a pretty simple item. I think it can be whittled down some.

    Since your item has been called a "Spell In A Can," I want to address that briefly. It is my opinion that some items that are called "spells in a can" are unjustly labeled as such. To use a spell effect in a magic item and make it not a SIAC item it needs to alter, implement, or use the spell in a unique way and have mojo to spare. Out of the top 32 this year I believe I counted only five that had a spell effect in its mechanics and each of those either used the spell in a unique way or had major mojo or both. Your item comes part way there as it has some mojo and using the stored light energy is somewhat innovative, but I just don't think it is quite enough in this item. I definitely think there is a spark of awesomeness in your design and hope to see some more cool stuff from you in the next nine months.

    Are you and Nick brothers or something?

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    Curaigh wrote:
    @ Andrew: the item specifically calls out that only one user per 24 hour period. @ Marlow: this is the sort of thing voters might easily miss & vote accordingly.

    Thank You I did miss that line...despite being out and all on its own.

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

    All right. I think I'll post one of my own. I'm likely going to ignore the Chelaxian suggestion or any other theme suggestions as I have a bunch of magic items that I have created (averaging 1.75 a week since the Top 32 were announced). I will post items that I have eliminated from my consideration for next year's entry for one reason or another.

    This first item I nearly entered this year. I had it in the submission box and gave it one last read through before I was going to hit "send." That is when I noticed one small issue with it. Since it was the deadline day, I decided not to fix it, and just submitted one of my other items. I wish I had just taken the time to fix it and submitted it instead of the item I did submit. I've decided it is not a viable submission now because of Joseph Kellogg's Top 32 item "Ironmorph Dust" which also gives an enemy armor penalties. Though the Ironmorph Dust has some issues that I circumvented in this item, I think I like his better for the versatility and the low cost, one time use.

    Helm of Phantom Armor Hubris
    Aura moderate enchantment and illusion; CL 9th
    Slot head; Price 26,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.

    Description
    This weighty greathelm is engraved with images of gnomish children laughing as larger races stumble over each other.

    Three times per day, by command word, the wearer can send a mind-affecting phantasm and compulsion to a target humanoid within 60 feet. The target must succeed at a DC 17 Will save or believe that he is intentionally wearing a masterwork suit of half-plate sized for him. The armor feels, smells, sounds, and looks real to the target, but is not perceived by others. The target is unquestionably confident that the armor protects more than it hinders him. He proudly poses in his armor, but will not speak of it for fear of jealousy. He will proceed to cast spells, make attacks, and otherwise act normally while affected.

    The target suffers the speed restriction, maximum Dexterity bonus (+0), armor check penalty (-6), and arcane spell failure chance (40%), but receives no armor bonus. If not proficient with the illusory armor, he suffers the additional penalties as normal. He suffers the penalties of the illusory armor or his actual armor, whichever is worse for him.

    The effect ends after 90 minutes, though each time the target loses a spell to arcane spell failure chance, fails an ability check, skill check, or attack roll due to armor penalties, or is damaged by a weapon attack, he can make another Will save to end the effect. A character who succeeds on a saving throw against the helm is immune to it for 24 hours. Characters prohibited from wearing metal armor (like druids) are immune to the helm's effects.

    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, major phantom object (ARG), smug narcissism (UM); Cost 13,000 gp

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    Nickolas Floyd wrote:
    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    Dawncatcher's Glove

    I'm not going to repeat what others have said as I agree with most everything.

    Are you and Nick brothers or something?

    Yeah, I'm having the same issue: by the time I sit down to write a critique, most everything I've thought of has already been said.

    Yep! Identical twins, in fact!

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

    Nickolas Floyd wrote:


    Helm of Phantom Armor Hubris
    Aura moderate enchantment and illusion; CL 9th
    Slot head; Price 26,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.

    Description
    This weighty greathelm is engraved with images of gnomish children laughing as larger races stumble over each other.

    Three times per day, by command word, the wearer can send a mind-affecting phantasm and compulsion to a target humanoid within 60 feet. The target must succeed at a DC 17 Will save or believe that he is intentionally wearing a masterwork suit of half-plate sized for him. The armor feels, smells, sounds, and looks real to the target, but is not perceived by others. The target is unquestionably confident that the armor protects more than it hinders him. He proudly poses in his armor, but will not speak of it for fear of jealousy. He will proceed to cast spells, make attacks, and otherwise act normally while affected.

    The target suffers the speed restriction, maximum Dexterity bonus...

    Finally, first to review! I'll use the stream of consciousness method favored by some others:

    The name is pretty clunky. If I were a fast voter I might write it off just for that.

    You should say "must make a DC 17 Will save." That's more Paizo's style.

    The "will not speak of it for fear of jealousy" line is perplexing to me. I think the item might be more effective if you leave that out. I like the image of an unarmored character boasting about his plate mail, raising the eyebrows of surrounding enemies and allies.

    I don't see why druids would be immune to the effect, it could just as easily be dragonhide plate or something.

    I crunched the numbers and I think your item should be priced closer to 48,600 gp, given its effects.

    This item is very functional and mechanically sound, but it doesn't quite have the zing factor, at least not for me. I'd have difficulty seeing a crafty character using a deceptive illusion power through a big honkin' helm, and the overall theme strikes me as very "The Emperor Has No Clothes," which is pretty humorous but not necessarily WOW.

    Hope this is helpful!


    So this thread is my first attempt at critique of an item outside of my group of friends who GM, so please bear with me. Rather than critique things I'm still getting a handle on myself (such as the mechanics of item design, pricing, spells used etc), I'll focus more on the flavour and mechanics of the item itself where I can. Hopefully I don't ramble too much, and can provide at least something that helps out :)

    Helm of Phantom Armor Hubris
    Name: The name itself doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like a lot of other items have, and I am left wondering what the item actually does. Is it a phantom helm, or a real one? Is it like a ghost touch item that protects against mental coercion/domination/possession, and punish the offending spectre for attempting it? Does it act like a phylactery of faithfulness, telling the wearer when something is a Bad Idea? Rather than leaving me excited to read more about the item, the name makes me want to read it if only to understand what it does in the first place.

    Type of Item: At first viewing before I get to the description, I’m not sure if this should have been a head slot item – items that are worn on the head, to me, should be about mental prowess (including things such as tactics, strategy, confidence, intrigue, etc) or about protection for the wearer (particularly mental protection). I think this might come down more to the name of the item being something that doesn’t capture the imagination as to its purpose. Maybe the description can convince me that a head slot item was the right fit rather than something like gloves or even a slotless item.

    Description: Gnomes – didn’t see that one coming, but I think it works. Panders a little to the stereotype that makes the race so very puntable, but given that its gnome children engraved on the item it helps me look past that much easier.

    Reading the mechanics of the item, I can now begin to see why a head slot might have been chosen, though it might have worked better had it not been a helm but something like a headband or similar item more suited to a wily or cheeky character.

    The mechanics of the item look quite fun, and I can now see where the name of the item ties into the effect that the item produces. Even though it looks like a simple spell effect on the surface, it does it in a way that I'm not sure could be produced by just casting a spell, and fits in well with the item's physical description.

    I think the wording could be tweaked to be more concise while still giving the flavour that is already there. For example I think the type of effect for mechanical purposes should be at the end of the paragraph or description to be better in line with other items from Paizo that I've seen (and anyone more experienced with this is free to correct me if I'm wrong).

    I really dig the whole “emperor has no clothes” vibe that this gives (and in fact it reminds me of something that a couple of very specific NPCs would do in the Kingmaker AP), but I think less words could be devoted to telling the player how they should act for times they are on the receiving end of this item.

    Overall, I can see this being a really interesting item to give to a trickster NPC that is determined to foil the party at every opportunity, but still a useful item that a PC could use to good effect on the battlefield as well. It may wander a bit too close to the Item is a Joke territory, but it does it in a very clever way and avoids a lot of the slapstick. I think with a stronger name such as “Helm of Imposing Hubris” or some such, and with some tightening up of the description and mechanics, this will be an excellent item and I am looking forward to seeing the refined version soon!

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    Christopher Wasko wrote:

    Not necessarily a Cheliax-specific item, but let me know what you think!

    Dawncatcher's Glove

    Nice Christopher. I like the beam of light option from a charged glove, that it has another (albeit ho hum) use is icing on the cake. The name is good.

    *does the dim light reduce the gloves ability to charge... that is: after charging is first started, does the dim light reduce the sunlight it can catch? Also can it only charge from zero? can it only daylight when full? If so there is a huge gap between .00001 charged and .999999 charged that is unusable. Not your intent, but it could use some clarification...
    **it seems awfully complex (wordy?) for what it does. 10 minute increments will need a lot of work on the player/GM's part. In a similar vein what does 'using a hand' mean? No weapons? OK. No spells? Probably (somatic-less list making time). No dancing? Irish traditional is OK. No farming? Unless you can guide the plow horse with your other hand or you want to harvest night-blossoms.
    ***why is it CL 10 when a cleric can get these spells at 5th? 6th if it assumes all three spells must be prepared. For this price I can get a wand of deeper darkness and one of searing light no charging needed.

    I think this avoids SiC, but that doesn't make this exciting. Still up-vote more than down-votes for the dimness = searing ray. :)


    Hi Christopher - as before, this is one of my first attempts to critique an item outside of people I know well, so bear with me. I'll try and critique from the perspective of flavour and mechanics of the item where I can. Hopefully there'll be something out of this that will help out when refining the item :)

    Dawncatcher's Glove

    Name: I like it – it lets me make a relatively good guess at what the items function might be, but still makes me want to read on. However, the singular nature of it throws me a little. Like Nick, I want to know if it can function as a pair, or if there is any benefit to wearing more than one. I can also see this stumping a lot of players who may want to race off to find the other half of the pair before they can use it.

    Description: Again, very nice – the description of having a metallic sheen despite being made of leather clearly denotes that this glove is special.

    The energy absorption mechanic took me a few read-overs to figure out, and even now I am still a little confused. It’s once per day and takes a standard action to activate, but can absorb up to 100 minutes of sunlight? Does the wearer have to stand still for this hour and forty minutes, or can they do other things that don’t use the gloved hand such as prepare spells or turn pages so long as their palm is always facing sunward.

    I like the two spell effects that are generated from the stored energy, but having them use up/be powered off of two different increments (one-minute depletion vs ten-minutes stored) will be a bit confusing on the part of the player and GM. Coupled with the fact that the glove can only be charged when it is fully depleted, you’ll have players going “ok, well I have 7 minutes of light left in this thing, I’ll stand here for the next 7 rounds casting daylight until it is empty, and then I can charge it again.” Or there will be hand-waving going on to say “ok, If its less than 10 minutes in the glove, we can consider it depleted – feel free to charge it back up again.”

    Maybe consider going to more of an item with charges that deplete over the course of days? Not sure how that would work without wanting to just buy a staff of daylight though.

    Conceptually, the item is really cool, and I can see myself trying to find a place for it to be found by the druid in one of my groups, or by a warpriest or a cleric in other games. Mechanically, it probably could do with a bit of tuning to be useable without too much bookwork involved.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

    I'll try to start reviewing items as soon as things quiet down a bit at work.

    Meanwhile, have a look at this Blazing9 logo I threw together in a design tool. :)

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    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    Dawncatcher's Glove

    I know I already reviewed this item, but I came up with some suggestions that you may want to consider while revising your item:

    1) Make it a circlet or crown instead of a glove. That way, the wearer doesn't have to use a single hand to charge the effect; they just have to activate the item while standing out in the sun.

    2) Perhaps replace daylight effect with fire shield, so charged sunlight can manifest as a protective aura as well as a searing light effect. If you want to give it a twist, give the fire shield effect solar qualities - sheds light like daylight, extra damage to undead/light vulnerable creatures, etc.

    3) Make the charging effect unlimited (the creature can stay in perpetual darkness), but have a max charge amount. This makes it more useful to villains who are only interested in blotting out the sun. If you do this, however, you may want to work protective prenumbra into your required spells.

    Just some food for thought. Now, on to the new item!

    Nickolas Floyd wrote:
    Helm of Phantom Armor Hubris

    The name is trochaic tetrameter, which is a cool style for driving a sentence home but not great for a name; as Chris pointed out, it sounds clunky.

    Mawgrim is right, the the effect descriptors (mind-affecting, phantasm, compulsion) should show up later. Get straight to the items effect, you can clear up the boring book work later.

    What happens if the target is already wearing armor? Does it feel like wearing two pieces of armor?

    I agree with Chris about the "fear of jealousy" line. I don't think it's necessary, and the item's effect is more prominent when the target is openly strutting.

    I think this item's effect on druids could be cooler. Perhaps it does work, but they can't access their druid abilities while subject to the illusion. Perhaps they get a +4 bonus on the Will save.

    I trust Chris' assessment of the price, he's really good at pricing items.

    I really like this item's theme, and I'm excited to see how you revise it!

    Mawgrim wrote:
    So this thread is my first attempt at critique of an item outside of my group of friends who GM, so please bear with me. Rather than critique things I'm still getting a handle on myself (such as the mechanics of item design, pricing, spells used etc), I'll focus more on the flavour and mechanics of the item itself where I can. Hopefully I don't ramble too much, and can provide at least something that helps out :)

    No worries, Mawgrim. We all started in your shoes at one point or another, and you are starting off stronger than some by running the gauntlet here. I'm confident you will soon master the mechanics of item design, and your input is still valuable even without a ton of experience. Sometimes veteran designers lose sight of the forest for the trees when nit-picking about mechanics, so it's nice to have some feedback from people who see their work for what it's supposed to be: a cool magic item/monster/encounter/etc.

    And don't worry about the rambling, some of us still haven't managed to trim down our comments. ;)

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    Man, I go back to work and then to sleep and I come back to having already missed a couple of items to review! That's ok...keep it up folks love to see the participation!

    It might be a bit before I post an item/creature/whatever. I've got a few assignments I have to write up before long!

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

    Okay, here is the theme of my first item I am working on for the Cheliax Wayfinder issue.

    This is the core idea behind the item, and I know it breaks a few Auto Reject rules, but in the case of this item's theme, I kind of think it will be difficult to avoid...

    The item is an empty book cover and spine.

    When wrapped around the Cheliax history books that are constantly revised, the pages of the wrapped book reveal the changes made since the previous issue.

    The text of names and history added or changed shimmer on the page, touching the shimmering words causes them to float out of the page and reform the original text unaltered.

    For text that has been removed, a shimmering line scores the page where the text would have lain. Touching it results in the line floating up, cracking, bending and separating into letters and words, forming the removed text.

    If the text refers to a noble house or personage that has been assassinated by the ruling powers, the text blushes a blood red hue.

    Plot Item. Item "knows" things, so makes the GM job harder. Two that immediately spring to mind.

    So what do you think?

    (Formatted first draft will be posted this weekend).

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    Anthony Adam wrote:

    Okay, here is the theme of my first item I am working on for the Cheliax Wayfinder issue.

    This is the core idea behind the item, and I know it breaks a few Auto Reject rules, but in the case of this item's theme, I kind of think it will be difficult to avoid...

    The item is an empty book cover and spine.

    When wrapped around the Cheliax history books that are constantly revised, the pages of the wrapped book reveal the changes made since the previous issue.

    The text of names and history added or changed shimmer on the page, touching the shimmering words causes them to float out of the page and reform the original text unaltered.

    For text that has been removed, a shimmering line scores the page where the text would have lain. Touching it results in the line floating up, cracking, bending and separating into letters and words, forming the removed text.

    If the text refers to a noble house or personage that has been assassinated by the ruling powers, the text blushes a blood red hue.

    Plot Item. Item "knows" things, so makes the GM job harder. Two that immediately spring to mind.

    So what do you think?

    (Formatted first draft will be posted this weekend).

    Yeah, sounds like you hit the two things that most jumped out at me. I also don't see a PC (or even an NPC, really) ever using this item except as a plot point, unless you include research-oriented skill bonuses. Maybe include a way to use the item to go back through previous editions of the texts? It might fly in the Wayfinder.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

    Wow, what an unbelievable amount of feedback in under 24 hours! I am amazed and very grateful for everybody's thoughts!

    I've considered everybody's advice and made some revisions to my item, which is posted below. I'm particularly interested if it still seems too much a SIAC. Please let me know what you think!

    Dawncatcher's Crown
    Aura moderate evocation; CL 11th
    Slot head; Price 30,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
    Description
    This polished electrum skull cap has a highly reflective sheen, with a small hemisphere positioned over the wearer’s forehead. Once per day as a standard action, the wearer may speak a command word to absorb the surrounding sunlight, reducing the illumination level to dim light in the wearer’s space (thus providing concealment against creatures without low-light vision or darkvision). This effect only functions in areas of natural sunlight. A dawncatcher’s crown can absorb sunlight for up to 11 consecutive minutes.

    Once this effect ends, the absorbed sunlight is stored within the crown. The stored light can be discharged as a standard action to create a field of radiant sunlight surrounding the wearer, functioning as a warm fire shield spell that emanates light as a daylight spell. This effect lasts for 1 round per minute of stored sunlight. Alternatively, the stored light can be fired from the crown’s front hemisphere as a concentrated beam, functioning as an Empowered searing light spell. Stored sunlight decays at a rate of 1 minute of stored light per hour.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Empower Spell, daylight, deeper darkness, fire shield, searing light; Cost 15,000 gp

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    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Dawncatcher's Crown

    Ok, three effects, one of which charges the crown so that the other two can be used. To answer your question, yes, it's a bit too much of a SIAC to my taste, though I'm sure there have been many items on the same level of SIACness that have made the top 32 over the years. I would add some twists to make the effects different from the component spells. Also, I think 4 spell effects is a bit too much.

    On the other hand, I don't think it's a bad SAK even though it's got three separate functions. They are somewhat thematically linked and there's even some synergy between the effects so they're not entirely separate.

    So, my advice is, focus on one or two effects and add twists to instead of using the spells as written.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I will second Mikko's sentiment that (Superstar) wondrous items should do things that existing spells don't already do.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    Mikko Kallio wrote:

    I'll try to start reviewing items as soon as things quiet down a bit at work.

    Meanwhile, have a look at this Blazing9 logo I threw together in a design tool. :)

    This looks really good. Wanna make a logo & banner for Freelance Forge? ;)

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

    Thanks for the critiques. I'm just going to go through some of my design steps and see what I can work out for a revision.

    First off, the name. Yeah, I knew it was clunky and it is something I pondered for the two years I had worked on this item. I have a list of about 30 names, but none of them say exactly what I wanted to say. The name I settled on says everything I want to say, but it is clunky. It has grown on me in time, but I still feel its a bit stiff. Mawgrim's suggestion of "Helm of Imposing Hubris” doesn't do it for me because it doesn't mention the illusory armor in any way. Looking back through my list a very simple one that jumps out that might cover everything is "Helm of Fool's Armor" or "Fool's Armor Helm." What do you guys think or can you give me any other suggestions?

    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    You should say "must make a DC 17 Will save." That's more Paizo's style.

    Is this right? I thought there was a post form SKR that says that "make a" was not the way to write these lines because "make" could imply that a roll is "made" and not necessarily "successfully made." Does anyone know the post I'm talking about? Did I flip this around or something?

    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    The "will not speak of it for fear of jealousy" line is perplexing to me. I think the item might be more effective if you leave that out. I like the image of an unarmored character boasting about his plate mail, raising the eyebrows of surrounding enemies and allies.

    This was a late addition to the item as a friend I shared it with asked "what if you are out of combat?" My intention with this line was to try and curtail situations where the character might be boasting about his fancy new armor and where his friends are telling him that he must have gone crazy or been ensorceled because he is not wearing armor. Though these situations may be humourous I didn't want to address whether the character should get another save because all four of his allies are trying everything they can to snap him out of the belief that he is wearing heavy armor that he loves. I figured it was humorous enough if the character was just strutting and proudly posing for no apparent reason. Maybe I should just embrace this and allow allies actions to give the victim another save. What do you think?

    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    I crunched the numbers and I think your item should be priced closer to 48,600 gp, given its effects.

    I'd love to see your notes on this as I don't usually use the costing method in the rules to price items. I ballpark it and then compare it to similarly priced items in the SRD and move it up and down depending on what power it has in comparison to the items around it. In this case, a Lesser Helm of Brilliance is only 36,000 gp and I would say that it is more powerful than my helm. Maybe mine is more powerful than a Helm of Telepathy at 27,000 gp, but I don't think I was as far off as you are suggesting. There are only a handful of classes that both have weak Will saves and don't wear heavy armor, limiting its use somewhat. Thoughts?

    Mawgrim wrote:
    Reading the mechanics of the item, I can now begin to see why a head slot might have been chosen, though it might have worked better had it not been a helm but something like a headband or similar item more suited to a wily or cheeky character.

    I hear you here. The fact that it is a greathelm is a holdover from an earlier version. The original version copied the armor the wearer had on so it made sense that it was a greathelm. I liked this because it actually gave a reason for someone to wear half-plate, but I changed it because I thought it might cause a bookkeeping issue and just build half-plate into it. I still like the fact that it is a greathelm as it was originally a fighter item that might be used against wizards (though it is much more effective against rogues with their low Will saves). I agree that a helm might not fit anymore, but I'm not sure what I would change it to. The armor that makes someone think they are wearing armor is not totally off. Is there a more intuitive item it could be? A more gnomish item? Any suggestions?

    You guys are right about the effect descriptors coming at the end of magic items, even if that does seem counter-intuitive. I mean, spells give that right up front in the stat block and I want to know if it is going to affect my target early in reading an effect. But you are right. I'll have to move that.

    Nick Wasko wrote:
    What happens if the target is already wearing armor? Does it feel like wearing two pieces of armor?

    I addressed this somewhat with "He suffers the penalties of the illusory armor or his actual armor, whichever is worse for him." I guess I assumed it was obvious that the target sees and feels like he is wearing the illusory armor in place of his own (and the half-plate is likely to have worse penalties than his real armor). This seems like something I could fix with one or two words so I'll see what I can do.

    Nick Wasko wrote:
    I think this item's effect on druids could be cooler. Perhaps it does work, but they can't access their druid abilities while subject to the illusion. Perhaps they get a +4 bonus on the Will save.

    This was one of the things that prevented me from submitting this item for this year's contest. I didn't consider what would happen to a druid who is affected in the older version. In fixing it, I considered a +4 bonus, but decided to just make them immune. I don't think I will change this. Druids are banned from wearing metal armor and I'm ok with assuming they would automatically not believe they are intentionally wearing such a thing. And as for half-plate made of non-metal materials, I'm don't think I will write exceptions for that. The illusory armor is just a beautiful, shiny, masterwork suit of quality steel.

    And finally I'll comment on the gnome thing. It wasn't originally designed as a gnomish item, but when I first designed it I could not find an illusion spell that did what I needed it to do. Then the Advanced Race Guide was added to the SRD and I found the Phantom Object spells which are gnomish racial spells. It was a perfect fit and I went "yeah, it is totally a gnomish prankster item." Done.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

    Mike Kimmel wrote:
    Mikko Kallio wrote:

    I'll try to start reviewing items as soon as things quiet down a bit at work.

    Meanwhile, have a look at this Blazing9 logo I threw together in a design tool. :)

    This looks really good. Wanna make a logo & banner for Freelance Forge? ;)

    Yea I can try. :)

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

    As an exercise, here is my 2011 item. I placed as an alternate with this item. This is the text exactly as it was submitted. What's wrong with it? How could it be better? How would you make it Superstar? (I don't think this item would make the cut in 2015!)

    Smoldering Sack
    Aura faint evocation and transmutation; CL 5th
    Slot -; Price 4,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.

    Description
    This soot-colored sack is approximately 1 foot by 2 feet in size and appears from the outside to be filled with lumpy stones. Opening the sack reveals that it is in fact filled with smoldering coals, which produce moderate heat and a faint red glow. Any creature that reaches into the sack, or any object that enters the sack, takes 1d6 points of fire damage per round.

    Once per day, the wielder of the smoldering sack can open the sack and command it to create a 20-ft. cube of fireworks or smoke adjacent to the wielder. These effects function as the pyrotechnics spell (DC 13), counting the sack as the fire source, except that they only affect creatures within the 20-ft. cube rather than within the normal range of the effects.

    Additionally, if any fire source at least as large as a torch is ever placed within the smoldering sack, the sack explodes 1d4+1 rounds later, dealing 5d6 points of fire damage to all creatures within 20 ft. (Reflex DC 14 half) and creating fireworks or smoke (DC 13, randomly determine with equal chance of each) within that area. Dumping the coals out of the sack or destroying the sack also causes it to explode, with no delay. However it is produced, the explosion destroys the sack.

    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, fireball, pyrotechnics; Cost 2,000 gp

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 8

    Mike Kimmel wrote:

    As an exercise, here is my 2011 item. I placed as an alternate with this item. This is the text exactly as it was submitted. What's wrong with it? How could it be better? How would you make it Superstar? (I don't think this item would make the cut in 2015!)

    Smoldering Sack
    Aura faint evocation and transmutation; CL 5th
    Slot -; Price 4,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.

    Description
    This soot-colored sack is approximately 1 foot by 2 feet in size and appears from the outside to be filled with lumpy stones. Opening the sack reveals that it is in fact filled with smoldering coals, which produce moderate heat and a faint red glow. Any creature that reaches into the sack, or any object that enters the sack, takes 1d6 points of fire damage per round.

    Once per day, the wielder of the smoldering sack can open the sack and command it to create a 20-ft. cube of fireworks or smoke adjacent to the wielder. These effects function as the pyrotechnics spell (DC 13), counting the sack as the fire source, except that they only affect creatures within the 20-ft. cube rather than within the normal range of the effects.

    Additionally, if any fire source at least as large as a torch is ever placed within the smoldering sack, the sack explodes 1d4+1 rounds later, dealing 5d6 points of fire damage to all creatures within 20 ft. (Reflex DC 14 half) and creating fireworks or smoke (DC 13, randomly determine with equal chance of each) within that area. Dumping the coals out of the sack or destroying the sack also causes it to explode, with no delay. However it is produced, the explosion destroys the sack.

    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, fireball, pyrotechnics; Cost 2,000 gp

    Cool! Let's see what I can come up with:

    The Slot should read none; I got dinged for that this year.

    I would price this item at half the price you listed, probably less. Pyrotechnics once per day at CL 5 plus a one-time consumable fireball prices it around 1,845 gp, which I would round up given the bonus pyrotechnics effect from the consumable function.

    This kind of strikes me as a pretty glaring Spell in a Can (or, rather, a Spell in a Bag).

    It's a neat item, but I'm having difficulty thinking of situations where a PC or NPC would want to use one, or even need one. Maybe as a kind of pseudo time-bomb, but not for that price.

    Nickolas Floyd wrote:
    I'd love to see your notes on this as I don't usually use the costing method in the rules to price items.

    I do the strict calculations according to the published rules, then round up or down according to comparisons to existing items (like you do) and approximations from unorthodox abilities. For example, your item uses a specific application of major phantom object as its core ability, meaning a 5th level spell at CL 9, usable by command word (5x9x1,800=81,000) usable three times per day (81,000/(5/3)=48,600). The smug narcissism spell doesn't add much to the original ability, just streamlines it and gives it some core mechanics, so I wouldn't alter the price as a result of its use. Thus, I'd reckon your starting price for your item should be ballpark 48,600 gp.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

    Mike Kimmel wrote:
    Smoldering Sack

    Chris basically covered all the points I wanted to make (SIAC, inappropriate pricing, etc.), so I'm going to focus on how I would make this better.

    My 2014 submission was also a storage item, and one point that several reviewers brought up was that you can only do 2 things with a bag: put stuff in and take stuff out. That doesn't give you a lot to work with, so we have to take those two functions and give them a twist. Given the theme you used for this item, here are some ideas I'd consider:

    1) Make putting stuff in more interesting - Perhaps you can "charge" the effect (make the pyrotechnics last longer, or the fireball more powerful) by filling it with flammable objects. Perhaps putting certain objects in causes certain effects to take place (I'm thinking along the lines of the portable hole + bag of holding aftermath). Perhaps if a living creature dies within the bag it explodes as described, but also summons an angry elemental/fire-based undead.

    2) Make taking stuff out more interesting - Perhaps weapons put into the sack and then taken out gain the flaming quality for a short period. Perhaps the user can reshape the pyrotechnics effect into a cone, or a semicircle, or a line (I could imagine any of these patterns being generated by flinging ash out of a sack). Perhaps you could dump out the coals to summon one or more flaming spheres that can be batted at targets with weapon attacks. Perhaps a "charged" bag (see above) summons a wall of fire instead of pyrotechnics.

    I'm just brainstorming, so I know several of these suggestions break other rules (SIAC, SAK, monster-in-a-can, etc). Bags are difficult to make more interesting.

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